The aura (symptoms) of migraines can make it difficult to manage daily life. These powerful headaches can trigger throbbing pain, sensitivity to light or sound, and nausea.
There are several prescription drugs that treat migraines, but they can come with undesirable side effects. The good news is that there may be a variety of natural alternatives you can try. Certain vitamins and supplements may reduce the severity or frequency of your migraines.
Strategies for treating migraines that work for one person may provide little or no relief for another. They can even make your migraines worse. That’s why it’s very important to work with your health care provider. They can help develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
No one vitamin or supplement or combination of the two has been proven to help relieve or prevent migraines in everyone. That’s partly because every person's headaches are different and have certain unique triggers.
Magnesium for migraine relief
According to the American Migraine Foundation, frequent daily doses of 400 to 500 mg of magnesium may help prevent migraines in some people. They say it’s especially effective for migraines related to monthly menstruation, and those with accompanying aura, or visual changes.
A recent review of a research paper on magnesium’s effectiveness for migraine prevention notes that migraine attacks have been linked to magnesium deficiency in some people. The researchers found that giving magnesium intravenously can help reduce acute migraine attacks, and that oral magnesium can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.
When looking for a magnesium supplement, pay special attention to the amount contained in each pill. If one pill in the bottle contains 200 mg of magnesium, you’ll want to take it twice daily. If you notice loose stools after taking this dose, you may want to try taking reducing the amount.
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)
We still do not fully understand how or why vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin, helps prevent migraines. According to Mark W. Green, MD, a professor of neurology, anesthesiology, and rehabilitation medicine, and a director of headache and pain medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, It may have an effect on the way cells metabolize energy.
A recent review published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research concluded that riboflavin can play a positive role in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, with no serious side effects.
If you choose vitamin B-2 supplementation, its recommended that you take 400 milligrams daily. Clifford Segil, DO, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, recommends taking two 100-mg tablets, twice very day.
Although the evidence from research is sadly limited, he’s optimistic about vitamin B-2’s potential for treating migraines. “Among the few vitamins I use in my clinical practice, it helps more often than the others many neurologists use,” he says.
Coenzyme Q10 for migraine relief
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that plays some crucial roles in our bodies, such as helping to generate energy in cells and protecting cells from oxidative damage. Research have shown that people with certain diseases have lower levels of CoQ10 in their blood and researchers are interested in finding out whether supplements might prove beneficial.
While more evidence is needed on the effectiveness of CoQ10 for preventing migraines, research has shown that it may help decrease the frequency of migraine headaches.
A regular dosage of CoQ10 can be as much as 100 mg taken three times per day. Caution should be exercised since this supplement may interact with certain medications or other supplements, so check with your doctor.
Vitamin D for migraine relief
Scientists are just beginning to understand the role of vitamin D in migraines. One recent study suggests that vitamin D supplementation may help reduce the frequency or duration of migraine attacks. In that study, Vitamin D was administrated for 10 weeks with 50,000 IU dosage of Vitamin D given per week.
Multivariate analysis of covariate & univariate analysis of covariate were done to determine the effects of Vitamin D supplements on symptoms, including severity, duration, frequency of headache, and the headache diary result (HDR).
Before you start taking vitamin D supplements, ask your doctor how much your body needs on a daily basis. General guidance many be obtained from the Vitamin D Society .
Melatonin for migraine relief
A recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry showed that the hormone melatonin, often used to regulate sleep cycles, may help reduce migraine duration and frequency.
In general, the study showed that melatonin was better tolerated and in many cases more effective, than the drug amitriptyline, which is often prescribed for migraine prevention but can have unwanted side effects. The daily dosage used in the study was 3 mg.
Melatonin has the advantage of being available over the counter at lower cost. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is generally considered safe in recommended dosages, although it is not recommended by the FDA for any specific use.
It’s important to note when you start taking a new supplement, you may not see results right away. You may need to continue taking it for at least a month before noticing any benefits.
If the supplement seems to be making your migraines or another health condition worse, stop taking it right away and talk to your doctor.
Also, never assume that all vitamins, minerals, and other supplements are safe, or that they’re of the same quality.
Always speak to your doctor or health care professional before you decide to try a new supplement.